Ergonomics: Recommended Working Postures

Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores

Recommended Working Postures describe body positions that are neutral and comfortable to use. Using postures other than those recommended will generally waste energy and motion as well as potentially raise the risk of injury. It's also important to change position frequently and stretch between tasks. This improves circulation and lessens fatigue.

Shoulders and Arms

• Keep the shoulders relaxed - not "shrugged-up" or "slumped-down".

• Keep your elbows close to your body.

• Keep work at about elbow height.

Head and Neck

• Avoid situations that require twisting the neck or bending it forward, backward, or to the side.

Hands and Wrists

• Keep the hands straight and in line with the forearms - avoid twisting hands.

• Avoid working with wrists pressed against sharp or hard edges.


• Stand straight - avoid situations that require bending (forward or backward), leaning to the side, or twisting.

• A sit/stand stool will allow for changes in posture.

• For work performed while sitting, a back rest will help maintain proper posture.

Feet and Legs

• Placing a foot on a footrest or other support will promote comfort.

• Provide toe space to allow workers to stand closer to counters. This can reduce reaching.

• Good quality anti-fatigue mats reduce back and leg fatigue.


Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Updated on: 12/10/09
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Ergonomics: Preferred Work Zone
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Ergonomics: Preferred Work Zone

Work is safest when lifting and reaching is performed within preferred bodily work zones.
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